Category Archives: Politics

The mystical underpinnings of Facebook's anti-fake news algorithms

Imagine you're Rene Descartes, data scientist at Facebook in charge of saying true things. Problem is, your only input is what people say, and everybody lies. It's not a moral failure, it's just that you've built Facebook into the world's largest integrated content distribution machine, and convincing people of things that aren't true is where […]

Superman: The Last Son of Prague

Besides everything else, today Superman is an almost satirically strict exemplar of what a "good" immigrant has to look like: if you can pass as a white able-bodied heterosexual male, were raised in a small Kansas farm, got a prestigious job in a traditional professional field, and save the world two or a hundred times, […]

Cyber-weapons as a form of magic, and why we can't code our way to a safer internet

A "cyber-weapon" isn't a thing, but a skill. It's not an object you can blow up with a missile or send a UN team to inspect, but the technical knowledge of how to identify and exploit a set of systems, written clearly enough that a computer can do it. It's a recipe that can make […]